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Classic and Contemporary Poetry: Explained

ROMAN FOUNTAIN, by             Poet Analysis     Poet's Biography

"Roman Fountain" is a poem by Louise Bogan, an American poet, critic, and translator who was known for her formal verse and use of traditional forms. The poem was published in 1937 in her collection "The Sleeping Fury".


The poem describes a fountain in Rome, Italy, and the imagery and sounds it evokes. The speaker is captivated by the fountain's beauty and the way the water flows and sounds as it cascades down the tiers. The poem also touches on themes of time and mortality, as the fountain has existed for centuries and will continue to exist long after the speaker is gone.

Poetic Elements:

  • Form: The poem is written in free verse and is composed of three stanzas of varying lengths.
  • Imagery: The poem makes use of vivid imagery, describing the fountain in detail and painting a picture of its surroundings.
  • Sound: The poem includes auditory imagery, particularly the sounds of the water flowing and falling in the fountain.
  • Theme: The poem touches on themes of beauty, time, and mortality.


"Roman Fountain" is a beautiful and evocative poem that captures the beauty and timelessness of an ancient fountain in Rome. Bogan's use of imagery and sound helps to transport the reader to the location and experience the sights and sounds of the fountain firsthand.

Poem Snippet:

"Into the trough

Of the fountain, the bronze boys

Stare up at her and her foolishness;

The jets of the fountain rise and rise,

Filling the wide basins."

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